Pacino kicks off Australian Cup campaign
The absence of top gallopers Whobegotyou and Typhoon Tracy from the Australian Cup nominations has helped fuel trainer Clinton McDonald’s decision to target the feature with 2000 metre specialist Pacino.
McDonald gives the six-year-old a "sneaky chance" when he resumes in Saturday’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1410m) but believes he can step up to the better autumn races.
"I have nominated him for the Australian Cup and, while it will be performance based whether he goes there, it doesn’t look like it is going to be a vintage year," McDonald said.
"A few of the really good ones are not nominated and I just thought that with his terrific record at 2000 metres it might be worth a shot."
Pacino has had 12 starts at the distance for three wins and seven placings.
At his most recent start, he was placed in the Group Three Coongy Handicap (2000m) for the third year in a row when third to Baughurst and Melbourne Cup winner Shocking on Caulfield Cup day.
His other spring performances include a close sixth to Vigor in the Group Two Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington while Roman Emperor and Vision And Power finished behind him when he was second to Miss Marielle in Sydney’s Group Two Hill Stakes (1900m).
"If he can get to that form again then he’s going to be competitive in the Australian Cup," McDonald said.
Pacino is yet to run a place in five first-up runs but put in an an eye catcher when beaten just over a length when he resumed over 1200 metres in May at the start of his last campaign.
"They might be a little bit sharp for him on Saturday but he will be ridden quiet and will hit the line well,’ McDonald said.
"He is no good thing but I think he is a sneaky chance."
Pacino is $12 in TAB Sportsbet’s Manifold market which is headed by Time Matters ($4.20) from Ship In the Night and Berringama, who are both $7.50.
A prominent performance on Saturday would lift Pacino’s autumn prospects and his Australian Cup quote of $51 would look increasingly attractive.
Shocking and Viewed, winner of the 2008 Melbourne Cup and last year’s Caulfield Cup, share Australian Cup favouritism at $5 ahead of Metropolitan Handicap winner Speed Gifted.
By Robert Windmill